8 March 2014

Malawi: Police to Deploy Officers Specifically for Election Issues

Mzuzu — Northern RegionPolice have deployed some officers as police election officers at the regional office and station level, specifically to manage issues on the forthcoming tripartite elections.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency on Thursday, Commissioner of Police in the region, Paul Kanyama, said the police adopted the concept after looking at the complexity of the electoral process in the tripartite elections.

Commissioner Kanyama said the security department has put in place special elections investigation units to deal with specific electoral complaints, observing that delaying action on electoral complaints creates conflicts and tensions.

"We need to be focused with the elections. One or two officers cannot manage to handle all the complaints during and beyond the election [period].

"That is why we appointed election officers at regional and station level," he said.

He added that the police service does not want to fail in its role in the electoral process, hence its decision to work differently during this year's elections.

The commissioner also vowed that the Malawi Police will conduct their duties strictly in accordance with the Malawi Constitution and electoral laws, and remain apolitical at all times.

Realizing the importance of media in the election process, he also urged journalists to work closely with the police to understand and appreciate each other's roles and responsibilities during the election exercise. "The media and the police need to share credible information, report pertinent issues to the public and avoid reporting or releasing sensitive information which has the potential to cause alarm and undermine state security," he advised.

Recently, Northern Region Police signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) aimed at sensitizing the public against political violence in all the districts in Northern region.

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